Sunday, 20 September 2015

Call Me A Cynic, But I Reckon Hazel’s Up To Something

Annette Badland (Hazel Woolley)

We all know that Hazel isn't the nicest person in the world - we haven't dubbed her 'Witch Hazel' for nothing - so she was acting seriously out of character at the end of the week. Peggy is trying to talk to her about leaving the shop as it is, but Hazel keeps blanking her. In fact, she let's Peggy know that she'll be in Ambridge on Friday, but she'll be much too busy to meet Peggy.


For her part, Peggy tells Christine that "It's a challenge, but I won't be beaten" and she will go and see Mr Kimberley, her lawyer, to see if there's anything that he can do to thwart Hazel and maybe send her a solicitor's letter. Peggy does see Mr. Kimberley, but later admits to Christine that she isn't very confident that he will be able to do anything.


Oh ye of little faith, Peggy! Mr. Kimberley is obviously quite persuasive, or perhaps it is because on Friday Hazel and Peggy meet when Peggy spots Hazel's car in the village and Peggy lays into her step-daughter-in-law, saying that she would be depriving the village of an asset and how can she bear to look at herself in the mirror? Hazel's reply? "You're wasting your breath." But later the same day, Hazel turns up at Peggy's and tells her that she has spoken to her lawyer and he said that she was perfectly entitled to do as she pleases with the shop. However, Hazel says that she realises that Jack was a compassionate man and so she is prepared to allow the shop to continue. 


I just cannot believe that Hazel is capable of such generosity, hence the title of this week's piece. Was she lying about her lawyer's advice, or has she got some dastardly plan in mind? Peggy says that Jack would be proud of her and then shows her cruel streak by offering Hazel one of Christine's ginger biscuits, which are, by general agreement of those who have tasted them, pretty horrible.


As the Flower and Produce show approaches, Bert is becoming obsessed with Mrs Tregorran's marrows - referring to them every other day. Actually, Bert was much in evidence this week, as Pip suggested that he could decorate her room, ready for when Heather moves in. David thinks that this is a good idea and broaches it to Bert, saying that they will pay him. Bert proves that he is a thoroughly nice chap by replying "I'll do it as a favour, or not at all." Well, I suppose he is getting free board and lodging at Brookfield while the bungalow is sorted out.


Bert showed his militant side when he learns of the suggestion to demolish the Village Hall and rebuild it. "You can't pull it down, it's a historic landmark" says Bert. Surely that's the whole point - they can rebuild it with all mod cons, like indoor toilets and electric lights. Even worse, in many people's eyes, is that Justin Eliot has said that he is willing to pay for the rebuilding, as long as his name is on the hall. 


This gift horse is being looked firmly in the mouth by many. Clarrie reveals that it was at the Village Hall where she first kissed Eddie - bearing in mind what has happened since in her life, I'm surprised she hasn't gone down and torched the place. From the reaction of some in the village, you could be excused for thinking that Justin has horns, cloven hooves and leathery wings. But not all are against his offer - Kenton says that they shouldn't turn it down "Just because a few sentimental old codgers have an attachment to what is in effect a ruin." Oliver asks Kenton what he'd do if Justin offered to pay for the refurbishment of The Bull? "I'd take it like a shot" Kenton replies, no doubt cursing that he never thought of asking him. Not only would that have been two fingers up to brother David, but I'm sure people would have got used to drinking in 'The Justin Eliot'instead of The Bull. Oliver points out that some people might regard Justin's money as 'tainted', to which Kenton's pragmatic reply is "It's free money - it doesn't mean you have to like him." That's rich - Kenton would have sold his soul and crawled naked over broken glass rather than take David's money to save the pub.


I wish Rob would get a job - on Tuesday he was being taught by Helen how to make Borsetshire Blue cheese. When she asks why he wants to know, as BB is her personal thing, Rob replies that he wants to be prepared in case he has to shoulder more of the burden. Watch out Helen - he's planning for when you are pregnant, which one suspects will be sooner, rather than later, if he has his (wicked) way. In fact, could it have happened already? Various people have remarked to Helen that she looks pale, and her answer is that she's tired. She even refuses wine at the family meal to discuss the future of the shop.


Rob didn't go to the aforesaid meal, telling Helen that Henry needs routine and stability. Helen put forward Rob's view that the suggested stock profile for the new shop was in danger of being 'elitist'. This was greeted with disbelief and scorn by the rest of the family, with Tony saying "It's not really Rob's area of expertise, is it?" Quite right Tony: Rob's expertise lies in being manipulative, diverting flood water and looking after mega-sheds full of cows. Oh, and in falsifying records and data.


Tom appears to have woken up to Rob's baleful influence, as he points out that their plans are for a farm shop, not a convenience store, He put it rather pompously when he said "What Rob is proposing is a quite unnecessary compromise of our vision." Pat agrees, saying that it's important that Tom and Helen stick to their vision. "OK," says Helen, "I'll tell Rob that's he's been outvoted."No-one pointed out that, as we have mentioned in the last two or three postings, it's sod all to do with Rob.


Rob didn't seem too upset, although he pointedly said that he thought Pat and Tony had retired. However, the control freakery returned on Wednesday, when Helen attended the WI 100th anniversary celebration meal in the church. Her phone rings and it's Rob - Henry has fallen over and grazed his knee and torn his trousers. He's upset and, when she suggests that she comes home, he says "would you mind? "When she gets home, it is evident that Henry isn't really upset and Helen isn't best pleased. Rob  changes the subject, saying that he wants them to be a proper family "Especially when we start planning for a new baby". He adds that Henry isn't the most self-confident child and it would make Henry feel better if Rob were to adopt him "Then he really would be mine too." Watch out Helen - he'll have you handcuffed to the kitchen sink next. 


Pip did Rex a favour (Toby seems to have temporarily vanished - and a good thing too) by arranging a visit to talk geese with Elizabeth. Pip goes with him and it seems that things go well - so much so that Rex buys Pip a blueberry muffin to celebrate. Their delight is tempered when Rex gets a text from Reedle's - they have decided that they will only trial the Fairbrother's geese in only one restaurant, rather than the two they originally agreed. Pip is very upbeat, saying that Elizabeth is bound to order a good quantity and it's the South Borsetshire food fair next week and he's bound to get lots of orders. Hmm. Anyone want a goose for Christmas?


Finally, we have a warning about how an imminent holiday can seriously warp your judgement, as Oliver and Caroline are throwing a 'going away' party before they decamp to Tuscany for a couple of months. Inexplicably, they invite the Grundys to celebrate Joe's 94th birthday. Surely madness after all the grief that Joe and Eddie have caused while living free at Grey Gables for weeks and causing their TripAdvisor rating to plummet to -4.5? And why not invite David, who was 56 on the same day, and who has done nothing to trash Grey Gablesreputation?


  1. I assumed Hazel was just lying about her lawyer's advice, but now I think you may be right and we haven't heard the last of this.

    I'm now wondering if Rob is hitting Helen - she's obviously subdued and I think she sounds frightened of him. Presumably he can't have hit Jess, though, or she'd had told Helen? Let's hope she isn't pregnant although sadly it's looking that way - I hadn't picked up on her refusing wine, so thanks for that.

    As for Rob wanting to learn to make the cheese and adopting Henry - my immediate wild surmise was that he is plotting to kill Helen and take everything she has. Although she's not the most obvious heiress to target - and he doesn't now have the Lodge to look forward to.

  2. The Rob thing. Here's a thought; the Scriptwriters have got us
    where they want us. If we all made a big effort and totally
    ignored Rob - just stop responding - they would get bored and
    write him out of the programme. At the moment we are all waiting
    for something really nasty to happen - is it worth it? O well, as I
    said, it was just a thought.

  3. Surely Hazel is Peggy's step-daughter, not SDIL? Always playing the "Daddy" card when it suits.